Did something significant to science fiction – actually, unprecedented – just happen at the Academy Awards?
It wasn’t really highlighted in any media reports I came across, but isn’t Everything Everywhere All at Once the first outright science fiction film to win the Oscar for Best Picture?
And not only that, but the Best Picture winner is especially intriguing to consider from a libertarian futurist perspective: Is it possible that this year’s Academy Awards recognized one of the most pro-freedom films to ever win an Oscar for best picture?
Such questions are sparked by an intriguing column on Reason magazine’s blog: “Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All At Once Celebrates individalism, Free Will.”
Only two films have been recognized with Special Prometheus Awards since that occasional awards category was first presented more than two decades ago: Serenity and V for Vendetta.
Here is an appreciation of V for Vendetta, the 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:
V for Vendetta, a Warner Bros. Pictures feature film released in 2006, offers a powerful and poignant indictment of totalitarianism as a brutal denial of not only our liberty but our very humanity.
“Some movies fade on repeated viewings while others maintain their brilliance. V for Vendetta is a stellar example of the latter…. The movie is simply brilliant,” Fred Curtis Moulton wrote in his rave review, printed in the Spring 2007 issue of Prometheus, the LFS’ quarterly newsletter.
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a notable pro-freedom work, the Libertarian Futurist Society publishes an ongoing Appreciation series of all award-winners.
Here is the Appreciation by Prometheus-winning novelist Travis Corcoran for writer-director Joss Whedon’s film Serenity, which received a Prometheus Special Award in 2006.
Like almost every science fiction fan, and like almost every libertarian, I was a fan of the TV series Firefly from the first episode of it I saw.
Firefly, and later Serenity, are about several things that are near and dear to the hearts of liberty-lovers: the frontier, voluntary – not coercive – exchange, an uneasy relationship with authority, self-reliance, and the trade-offs that inevitably come from uncompromising moral codes, nonconformism, and a healthy skepticism for the default paths through life.
The films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe are an unusual, and possibly unique artistic project: a cinematic series set in a shared fictional universe, one that develops from film to film, with later films referring to earlier.
Of course there have been trilogies and other series of films, but this design not only is at a greater length, but has multiple branches following different groups of characters. There’s a main storyline that began with The Avengers and progressed through Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and The Black Panther, but other films have told different types of stories: a mock epic in Guardians of the Galaxy, a caper film in Ant-Man, and a story of supernatural initiation in Doctor Strange, for example.
Actor Nathan Fillion, who played Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds. Creative Commons photo by vagueonthehow.
By William H. Stoddard
In the decade and a half since Firefly came on the air, it’s emerged as one of the high points of television science fiction, both for its characterization, and for the unusual depth in which its setting is imagined. In fact, that depth helps explain the characterization. The crew and passengers of the Serenity come from different places in a complex world, and their motives and relationships reflect this. On a first viewing, they’re inevitably two-dimensional, inviting the watcher to see them as dramatic stereotypes. Fitting the description of Firefly as a “space Western,” they often seem like Western stereotypes: the cynical veteran, the glamorous dance-hall girl, the preacher, the naïve city dweller out of his depth. But over the course of the first (and only) season, viewers came to know their backstories, and to see their actions in more depth, in relation to their pasts as well as their presents. Continue reading Futures in Collision: Firefly’s Divided Society